Friday, December 17, 2004

the "good" ones

Friday morning. In a weak moment this week I said aloud that I'd bring snacks and drinks today. And so I'm doing it. What was I thinking?
It has been a strange week. I'm doing this cool poetry thing that I like to do where I give a list of about 20 subjects (smell, taste, time of day, people, ideas, etc.) and the kids write 15 words that come to their minds when they think of each subject. Then we look at all the words we've generated and attempt to see a theme or a thread, and we do a free-writing about that. Then we make the LEAP from prose to poetry. That last part is hard, but it's cool and kids come out of it with a few things -- a bunch of words from themselves, a reflection on what their choice of words says about them, and a poem. It's easy and fun. At first, almost to a kid, they complain and balk and have a terrible time getting started. But after they get into it they like it. Except third period. I don't understand what's going on with third period. That's the class with the girl I kicked out this week, who returned, who got frustrated with her essay and threw her work on the floor and left and cried in the hall. That's also the girl who called me Monday to see if I was okay. Also in this class is the girl who was unbelievably rude, who got suspended on account of me, with whom I made a promise that if she gave it a serious try I'd help her make a B this quarter and thereby pass the class (she's not doing it, by the way, though she was at first). Also it's the class with the girl who stormed out a couple of months ago because we were reading Thanatopsis and her step father had just been killed, and she didn't return for about a month (she was definitely using it as an excuse). But she's back and we're cool and she even hugged me when she returned. That's also the class with LG, the girl I often write about here, the homecoming queen, the girl who is real funny, who comes into class and loudly (loudly) makes a greeting bellow, which I return in kind, the girl I gave the journal to when she went to see her recently found father in another state. It's also the class with the girl, M, who told me she loves having the chance to think. And a few others. It's a very small class, and everyone in it is extraordinary, pushing me, making me see things I'd not seen before, raising me, hurting my feelings, and sometimes breaking my heart with their stories. They revolted yesterday when I brought the assignment up, directly indicating to me that I do not know what I'm doing as a teacher. Though I KNOW they cannot possibly believe this. They just cannot possibly. LG told me she didn't like me anymore. This was actually useful for me to hear because I'm very clear about what I'm doing at this school, and it's not to be liked. It's to be their teacher. I think she may know that. But she's mad at me, and the others are rebellious. Maybe because they know the class is almost over? Yesterday M said I was going to be in trouble next semester because THIS semester I got the good kids but next semester would be a different story.
On another note, a child in first period invited me to his house for Christmas dinner. He said his mother said he could invite anyone he wanted.
I really need this holiday. There's probably another teacher or two in the world who may feel the same. Probably.
Oh, and one more thing. I've been riding my bike to school this week!

Melanie

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